Apple Puts Android on Hot Seat
Source:EE Times
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  • SAN JOSE, Calif. — Apple examined details of Google's Android code in testimony Monday as part of its patent infringement case against Samsung. Attorneys for both sides debated how much of the source code running on Samsung's handsets would be brought into evidence for review by the jury.

    A Samsung attorney objected to Apple's request to bring all the source code on the accused Samsung phones into evidence, saying if printed out it would fill the courtroom with hundreds of thousands of pages. The two sides are expected to limit evidence to code that expert witnesses cite.

    The software includes a mix of proprietary code -- some written by Samsung and some by Google -- along with some open-source code. Although some of the code comes from Google or open-source authors, all of it appeared in the Samsung handsets.

    Only the jury will be allowed to see the proprietary code, some of which even Apple's attorneys have not been allowed to view.

    In testimony Monday, two computer science experts testified that a range of about 10 Samsung smartphones or tablets infringed three Apple patents. The Apple US patents reviewed included:

    ? No. 5,946,647 on data detectors, a method for analyzing text to identify telephone numbers and email and physical addresses

    ? No. 6,847,959 on a universal search feature

    ? No. 7,761,414 on synchronizing data updates

    Google is not being sued for patent infringement in the case. However Apple's lawyers asked experts to walk through the details of their findings about how different versions of Android code -- including Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean releases -- infringed Apple patents.

    For example, Apple showed a September 17, 2007, email from one Google Android manager referring to software similar to Apple's data detectors. "One of the most powerful features is the interaction of text objects," the Android manager said, explaining the value of automatically finding a phone number, for instance, and automatically bringing up a dialer or calendar application.

    "I think it was an invention way ahead of its time [because] it is extremely inconvenient with a cellphone to copy and paste text," said Todd C. Mowry, a Carnegie Mellon professor who testified as an expert for Apple.

    Apple paid Mowry about $350,000 for his work over nearly two years on the case. It paid another expert about $200,000.

    Apple put on the stand a software engineer responsible for data detectors in Apple's mobile operating system. Thomas Deniau joined Apple as an intern in 2009 and has worked on iOS since version 4.0.

    The court reporter had to stop the intense, neatly groomed Frenchman several times because she could not understand his rapid-fire, heavily accented English. The data detectors software consists of "tens of thousands of lines of code... it's very complicated to accurately identify so many data structures in so many different languages -- we support about 20 languages," he said.

    Under cross examination by a Samsung attorney, Deniau admitted Apple removed from a mobile version of its Safari browser detection of street addresses and other functions to improve the app's loading time by 2 or 3%. However Deniau said he helped improve 20-fold the speed of recognizing telephone numbers in the browser.

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